Smoking in the girls’ room, sneaking a drink, napping
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We use the power of entrepreneurship but support the entrepreneurs who design businesses to solve social and environmental problems and are committed to bioregions and communities. I’m especially interested in agriculture as a place to create that change. We’re not investing enough in small-scale, organic agriculture. Rapid economic growth has created tons of cheap food with a long shelf life, but it’s destroyed family farms, which are vital to rebuilding and preserving soil fertility.
We got dressed up to go to the courthouse. It was strange to be out of school, and even stranger to be heading off to appear before a judge to prove that our family was broke, but our mother insisted we kids come along. My brother and I sported polyester suit coats handed down from our cousins in Terre Haute, and the girls wore the same dresses they had worn for our grandparents’ funerals.
The revolution I would like to see is a devolution of agriculture. We have to let go of the notion of mass-producing food. It just doesn’t work. Cars and computers may lend themselves to mass production, but with food it has been a disaster. We have to revive small-scale food production and relearn the art of food processing, including fermentation, so we can stop relying on these huge and vulnerable food infrastructures.
I recently started keeping bees, and already I’ve been amazed just watching how they cluster and move, then suddenly flow in a line like a rivulet of water just a few bees wide — many small minds following some higher thought known to them only in common and to none alone.
Carla happened to be kneeling outside the poultry enclosure when she heard her daughter Amanda in the milking barn telling the new boyfriend, “My father is a beatnik. He hates life up here. He calls us ‘montagnards.’ He really loves North Beach. And he’s in the right place, too, in North Beach. Because he’s into porn — something I approve of.
I am on a tiny island in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland with a full-grown ram between my legs — not the way I usually spend a summer Saturday. This began as a simple errand, to fetch a fleece for dyeing from John Finlay, a crofter and neighbor of my hosts.
The human definition of the natural world is always going to be too small, because the world’s more diverse and complex than we can ever know. We’re not going to comprehend it; it comprehends us. The question is whether we can use it with respect. Some people in the past who knew very little biology were able to use the land without destroying it. We, who know a great deal of biology, are destroying our land in order to use it.
Our failing family farm had two trailer homes sitting vacant. To make ends meet, my parents rented one to Valerie, a pregnant, unwed twenty-three-year-old with tomato red hair who worked at the Kroger deli, where my mother was the manager.
When I was a boy, I lived in the country about fifty miles outside of San Antonio, Texas. Our house was a trailer my father had set up on large cedar posts, three feet in the air. He covered the space below with aluminum siding and added a front porch to give the trailer a more houselike appearance. We had an above-ground pool, too.
When they set out to document the lives of Mexican migrant workers in Hartville, author David Hassler and photographer Gary Harwood expected to find examples of injustice, deprivation, and misery. Instead they found a functioning seasonal community, rich in culture, to which entire families return each year. The work is hard and dirty, and the workers struggle to support themselves and their dependents.